NBA Opens Investigation into Jerry West After Allegations Surface Regarding Kawhi Leonard Acquisition

by Joe Rutland

It looks like Jerry West could be in trouble with the National Basketball Association over the Los Angeles Clippers acquiring Kawhi Leonard.

West, who is an executive with the Los Angeles Clippers, is being sued by a man named Johnny Wilkes who agreed to help court Leonard to the Clippers for $2.5 million.

Sam Amrick of The Athletic reported on Thursday afternoon that the NBA has opened an investigation into the matter.

According to another report, Wilkes, who has claimed to be an associate of Leonard, is suing West because he claims that he helped the Clippers get Leonard. In a lawsuit, Wilkes said that he had an agreement worked out with West. Wilkes reportedly told West in April 2019 that he had ties to Leonard and his uncle, Dennis Robertson.

Allegedly, weeks later West asked Wilkes if he could help the Clippers get him. Wilkes asked for $2.5 million for his help.

West reportedly agreed to the terms and Wilkes started working on getting Leonard moving in the Clippers’ direction. Wilkes claims he’s the one who got Paul George to agree to sign with the Clippers. He’s also claiming that he gave West and the Clippers information to tailor their deal for Leonard.

In addition to all of this, Wilkes claims that he worked up a deal between Jerry West and Robertson that included a travel expense account and a home in Southern California. Wilkes said that he saw West at a celebratory party after Leonard’s signing and said West assured him that his more-than-$2 million payday was on its way.

West, as of yet, hasn’t made good on his promise. Wilkes is now claiming breach of contract and seeks the original $2.5 million as well as damages in his lawsuit.

Jerry West Played On, Developed NBA Champions

West is nicknamed “The Logo” because the outline of a player on the actual NBA logo is that of West in his playing days. He won championships as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers on the court and in executive positions, too.

He won an NBA title with the 1971-72 Lakers, which ended up being his lone title as an active player. The Lakers returned to the NBA Finals in the 1972-73 season, but they did not come up as winners. Frustrated with his play and battling injuries, West retired in 1974.

West then took time away from the game for a couple of years, coming back to coach the Lakers in 1976. Through three seasons, he put together a respectable 145-101 coaching record.

In 1982, West became the Lakers’ general manager then vice president of basketball operations. He oversaw the makeup of teams led by Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Mychal Thompson, Byron Scott, A.C. Green, and others. His ability to see and evaluate talent put him in a position to keep the Lakers always in contention for NBA championships.

He also played a role in trading for 17-year-old Kobe Bryant to join the Lakers. West signed Shaquille O’Neal to a seven-year, $120 million contract. Those two helped bring more success to the Lakers, giving West added satisfaction in his role. But West never felt comfortable taking full credit for the success, deflecting it back to the players on the court.

West was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 1980. He also was voted as one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA history in 1996. 

H/T: Complex,